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Book Review: The Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness – A 52-Week Plan for Increased Energy and A Longer, Healthier Life by Mark Fenton

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I am often asked about what I consider to be the best form of exercise, especially for new exercisers. And while I extol the benefits of Pilates, I also realize that for many people even having to buy a mat or learn a new way of moving is too complex.

So I usually recommend walking. It’s cheap (and can even save you money on gas, taxi, or public transportation), easy, requires no special equipment other than a pair of good shoes, can be done anywhere (inside, outside, rain or shine), and helps your stamina, endurance, cardiovascular fitness, and bone density. Really, there isn’t much more you can ask for in an exercise!

Mark Fenton has been called “America’s reigning guru of walking” for good reason. One, his style is approachable and easy to read and understand; two, he has all the scientific data to back up his claims about walking; three, he offers many different walking programs from basic to hills to racewalking. No matter what your fitness level you can open this book and find the perfect starting point for your walking program and then follow your progression every week.

But this book is not just about walking. Fenton manages to slip in some core strengthening, some light weight work, and other exercise activities that will help you get even stronger and more flexible as you continue walking. He also offers diet and nutrition strategies and discusses the role of walking in weight loss, diabetes control, heart health, cancer prevention, and emotional well being. Throughout he offers inspirational real life stories from walkers of all ages and backgrounds, such as diabetic Carol Thompson, 69 year old Mel Smagorinsky, commuter Kristen Trebeche, and rookie marathoner Amy Dawson.

From how to pick out a good pair of walking shoes (and why running shoes are not a good option) to how to buy a good treadmill, from the best walking baby strollers to the most comfortable yet functional backpacks, from heart rate monitors to pedometers, from how to burn more calories to how to stretch after your walk, this book answers every possible question and concern you may have about walking and fitness.

If you want to start a walking program at any age or fitness level The Complete Guide to Walking is a must-have book that you will refer to and use for years. Buy it, use it, and help make the world a healthier happier walking friendly place!

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